This week’s selection is Men At Work’s classic, “Down Under”:
“Down Under” appeared on Men At Work’s debut album Business as Usual. The album and song made Men At Work the only Australian artists to have a simultaneous #1 album and #1 single in the United States. The group won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Personally, I think this video is a lot of fun, and I couldn’t get enough of it when it came out. When I think of videos from MTV, this is always one of the first that pop into mind. The first Return to the ’80s article was about “Down Under” hitting number 1. That article includes a poll about your favorite Men At Work song. Here is the poll again, and you can continue to vote on it:
Question: What was the name of the bar on Dukes of Hazzard?
Last Week’s Question: What does ALF stand for?
Bonus Question: What animal would best be advised to stay away from ALF?
Answer: Alien Life Form. Bonus: Cats should keep away from ALF.
Alf and his fellow Melmacians feasted on cats. The Tanners, with whom Alf stayed, owned a cat named Lucky. Alf was always trying to catch him to eat. However, when Lucky died, Alf found that he had loved and respect Lucky. He admitted to the Tanners he has become the worst kind of Melmacian, a “cat lover”.
Today is Friday the 13th, and that made me think of the movie Friday the 13th. The original was relased 30 years ago this past May 9th.
The original was inspired by the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, and it kicked the horror movie genre into overdrive in the ’80s. It made Camp Crystal Lake a household name.
Here is a description of the movie that I found, and I believe is accurate:
The movie opens in 1958 as two summer camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, Barry (Willie Adams) and Claudette (Debra S. Hayes), sneak away from a campfire sing-along to have sex. Before they can completely undress, an unseen assailant sneaks into the room and murders them both.
Move forward to Friday, June 13, 1980. A young woman named Annie (Robbi Morgan) enters a small diner and asks for directions to Camp Crystal Lake, much to the shock of the restaurant’s patrons and staff. Enos (Rex Everhart), a truck driver from the diner, agrees to give her a lift halfway to the camp. A strange old man named Ralph (Walt Gorney) reacts to the news of the camp’s reopening by warning Annie that they are all doomed. During the drive, Enos warns her about the camp, informing her that a young boy drowned in Crystal Lake in 1957, one year before the double murders occurred, followed by several fires and poisoned water. After Enos lets her out, Annie hitches another ride in a Jeep. The second driver, whose face is never seen, murders Annie by slashing her throat with a large hunting knife after her futile efforts to escape.
At the camp, the other counselors, Ned (Mark Nelson), Jack (Kevin Bacon), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), Brenda (Laurie Bartram), Alice (Adrienne King) and the camp’s owner, Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer), are refurbishing the cabins and facilities. As a violent storm closes in on the horizon, Steve leaves the campgrounds to get more supplies. The unidentified killer begins to isolate and murder the counselors. First Ned, who is lead into a cabin and is killed, then Jack who is impaled in the chest with a spear, and then Marcie, who is trashed in the face with an axe. Meanwhile, Alice, Brenda and Bill are playing strip Monopoly in the main cabin. Brenda soon leaves and goes to her cabin to bed. While in bed, reading a book, she hears a childlike voice outside crying ‘Help me’ several times. As she goes out to investigate, the lights at the archery range suddenly turn on and Brenda is murdered (off-screen). Alice informs Bill that she thinks she heard Brenda screaming and that she saw the lights turn on at the archery range. Alice and Bill leave the cabin to investigate and find a bloody axe in Brenda’s bed. Attempting to phone the police, they discover the phones are dead and, when they try to leave, the car won’t start. Later that evening, Steve returns from town and is also murdered, apparently familiar with his attacker. Back at camp, when the lights go out, Bill goes to check on the power generator. Alice heads out looking for Bill when he doesn’t return. She finds his body pinned to a door by several arrows. Now alone, Alice flees back to the main cabin and hides. After a few moments of silence, Brenda’s corpse is hurled through the window.
Alice hears a vehicle outside the cabin and, thinking it to be Steve, runs out to warn him. Instead, she finds a middle-aged woman who introduces herself as Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), stating that she is an “old friend of the Christys”. Alice hysterically tries to tell her about the murders. Mrs. Voorhees expresses horror at the sight of Brenda’s body, but she soon reveals herself to be the mother of the boy who drowned in the lake in 1957, and that today is his birthday. Talking mostly to herself, she blames her son Jason’s drowning on the fact that two counselors were having sex and were unaware of Jason struggling in the lake. Mrs. Voorhees suddenly turns violent and pulls out a knife, rushing at Alice. A lengthy chase ensues, during which Alice flees her attacker and finds Steve and Annie’s bodies in the process. Alice and Mrs. Voorhees have multiple confrontations, each time with Alice believing she has finally beaten Mrs. Voorhees. During their final fight, Alice manages to decapitate Mrs. Voorhees with her own machete.
Afterward, Alice boards a canoe and floats to the middle of the lake. As the sun rises, the decomposing corpse of Mrs. Voorhees’ son, Jason (Ari Lehman), attacks Alice, just as the police arrive. As she is dragged under water, Alice awakens from the nightmare in a hospital, where Sergeant Tierney (Ron Carroll) tells her that they pulled her out of the lake. Alice is informed that everyone is dead; when she asks about Jason, Tierney informs her they never found any boy, which leaves her with the impression that he is still there.
Not only was Friday the 13th influenced by Halloween, but it was similar to Jaws with the scary music whenever the bad guy was around. Jaws had duh-duh-duh-duh and Friday the 13th had the “ki ki ki, ma ma ma” sound.
The movie spawned many sequels. It went to number 11 with the crossover with Nightmare on Elm Street in Freddy vs. Jason. Then in 2009, like the Halloween franchise, the Friday the 13th franchise was rebooted.
The sequel to the reboot was originally supposed to be released today, and it was supposed to be in 3-D. But, that has been changed, and no released date has been set.
Comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield is…Dead. Hey, I had to pick somebody that was dead! If I only picked celebrities that were alive, this would be a “Where Are They Now” segment instead of a “Dead or Alive” Segment. But I will give Rodney some “Respect”.
Rodney Dangerfield (November 22, 1921 – October 5, 2004), was actually born Jacob Cohen. As a teenager, he got his start writing jokes for standup comics; he became one himself at 19 under the name Jack Roy, which is what he legally changed his name to.
However, he struggled as a comedian for many years.
So, he decided to come up with an image that audiences could relate to and that would distinguish him from similar comics. He took the name Rodney Dangerfield, which he remembered from a comedy routine on Jack Benny’s radio program in the 40s. He began to develop the image of a lovable but laughable “everyman” who gets no respect and became a nightclub hit in the 60s.
His popularity exploded at the dawn of the ’80s when he starred in 1980’s Caddyshack. He was a standout among fellow comedic actors such as Ted Knight, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray.
He even had a music video for “Rappin’ Rodney” in 1983:
Rodney became the leading man in two more films, Easy Money (1983), and Back to School (1986) which was one of the first comedies to gross over $100 million. His first dramatic role was that of the abusive father in Oliver Stone’s successful film, Natural Born Killers (1994). He made several more films – twenty in all – but most of them went directly to video.
On April 8, 2003, Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on August 24, 2004. Upon entering the hospital, he uttered another characteristic one-liner when asked how long he would be hospitalized: “If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour and a half.”
In September 2004, it was revealed that Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, he began breathing on his own and showing signs of awareness when visited by friends. However, on October 5, 2004, he died at the UCLA Medical Center, from complications of the surgery he had undergone in August. He was a month and a half short of his 83rd birthday. Dangerfield was buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. In keeping with his “no respect” persona, his headstone reads simply, “Rodney Dangerfield… There goes the neighborhood.”:
Here are some great quotes from Dangerfield:
I worked in a pet store and people kept asking how big I’d get.
My mother never breast fed me. She told me that she only liked me as a friend.
I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent back a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.
I was tired one night and I went to the bar to have a few drinks. The bartender asked me, “What’ll you have?” I said, “Surprise me.” He showed me a naked picture of my wife.
I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown necktie.
When I was born the doctor took one look at my face, turned me over and said, “Look, twins!”
I get no respect at all – When I was a kid, I lost my parents at the beach. I asked a lifeguard to help me find them. He said “I don’t know kid, there are so many places they could hide”.
I’m getting so old my insurance company sends me 1/2 a calendar!
I told my doctor I wanna stop aging, he gave me a gun!
This week’s selection, in honor of the 2011 Van Halen reunion, is “Jump”:
“Jump” is the only Van Halen song to reach all the way up to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the second single released off of the 1984 album. This is a simple video of the band performing a mock concert. David Lee Roth jumps a lot, and Eddie Van Halen has a funny smile on his face the whole time. I remember that I loved the video, but that goofy smile annoyed the crap out of me. You would think he was high or something!
But, the song shows how talented Eddie is. Not only is he one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but he is also a damn good keyboard player too. This is one of those songs that is instantly recognizable from the first note.
According to Billboard.com, a deal was re-upped between publisher Warner/Chappell and Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and it was stated that the band “is currently in the studio recording an album with Roth that is due for release in 2011.”
Also, Van Halen manager and Live Nation Entertainment executive chairman Irivng Azoff mentioned that Van Halen was expected to tour next year. Van Halen’s 2008 reunion tour with Roth was a massive success. It took in more than $93 million. from 74 shows according to Billboard.
Next year’s album would be Van Halen’s first studio album since 1998’s flop Van Halen III,” with Gary Cherone as the lead singer. This would also be the first album with David Lee Roth since the classic 1984.
Hopefully the band will get along, and this will go through. If it does, I will buy the album as soon as it comes out. Hey, if I could buy the Van Halen III album the day it was released, I can do the same for the Van Halen/David Lee Roth reunion!
On August 6, 2009, ’80s movies fans, especially those of us who grew up in the ’80s, had our hearts ripped out with the passing of writer/producer/director John Hughes (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009).
Hughes died of a heart attack while walking in Manhattan, where he was visiting his family. On that morning, Hughes was on West 55th Street in Manhattan when he was stricken with chest pains. At 8:55 a.m., 911 operators summoned paramedics to assist. Hughes was unconscious when they arrived several minutes later. Hughes was raced to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Not only was his death at a relatively young age tragic, but it was tragic that it happened in New York, and not his beloved Chicago.
Hughes got his start writing for the National Lampoon Magazine. His first credited screenplay was Class Reunion, which wasn’t too successful. But he skyrocketed when he wrote the screenplay for National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The first movie he directed was the classic Sixteen Candles. This began a string of very successful movies set around high school – The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Then to avoid being known solely known for teen comedies, he branched out in 1987, directing Planes, Trains & Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy, and Uncle Buck, also starring John Candy.
Then his biggest success came with the movie Home Alone, which is still the most successful live-action comedy of all time. Then his last film as a director was 1991’s Curly Sue, which I have never seen.
Hughes stepped away from Hollywood in 1994. This was the same year John Candy died. If Candy did not die, who knows if Hughes may have come back or not.
Hughes made stars out of Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Jon Cryer, Macaulay Culkin, and Alec Baldwin.
His teen movies were incredible. Teens in the ’80s could totally relate to at least some of the characters in his movies. Most of the characters were were awkward and uncomfortable in their own skin. But, his movies managed to have happy endings.
Something that Hughes did, that is greatly missed today, is the way he integrated music in his movies. Who can forget Ducky dancing and singing to “Try a Little Tenderness” in the record store, or Ferris in the parade performing “Twist and Shout”. And you can’t help but think of the song “Don’t You Forget About Me” when mentioning John Hughes.
Here is my top 5 John Hughes movies:
5. Sixteen Candles
4. Uncle Buck
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
2. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
1. The Breakfast Club
What are some of your favorite John Hughes movies, moments or memories?
Here is a poll to select your favorite John Hughes movie that he actually directed:
In closing, as the great Ferris Bueller said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”